Concert Review: Smallpools / Magic Man and Panama Wedding at the House of Blues Anaheim
By Ryan Hulsey
Last night, we were at the House of Blues Anaheim to watch Smallpools, Magic Man, and Panama Wedding. Smallpools also stopped by our studio for Tyler Russell’s morning show and performed their hit “Dreaming” live. You can check out the Soundcloud recording below.
“I want my Magic Man!”
A kid yelled that at me as I approached the stage, my two cameras at hand and my hefty backpack trailing along. As I continued to walk through the crowd to get to the photo pit, I couldn’t help but notice the conglomerate of preteens and young adults running around. It was an active crowd of smiling faces, clapping hands, and Instagram shares. While waiting for the bands to start in the photo pit, I talked to this 15 year old kid with braces who had been waiting outside for the show to start since 1PM, just to get into the front row (for reference, doors to the House of Blues opened at 7PM – that’s some dedication for a school night).
This was my first taste of House of Blues: Anaheim and the Smallpools/Magic Man/Panama Wedding line up. I went into this show blind: I only knew SmallPools from their interview with Tyler Monday morning, and I had no idea what to expect from these others bands or how they would sound in a concert hall.
Boy, was I in for a surprise.
Panama Wedding kicked off the show, bringing their A-game with back-to-back upbeat songs about love and summer feels. Boston band Magic Man put on a really fun show as well, with some baroque-like harmonies and electronic swoons with their synth effects and power chords. As I continued snapping picture after picture, I kept being entranced by their energetic and charismatic front man, who kept running around the stage and getting his audience more revved up for the songs ahead. A notable standout was their cover of “The Middle” by Jimmy Eats World (let’s be real here: this was definitely my go-to jam back in 2002). And of course, Small Pools – it was an energized, crowd roaring show, and they gave their fans what they wanted, ceramic dogs and all. What a trip; it definitely lived up to its hype.
Looking back, I keep thinking about how all three bands were not only talented musicians but incredibly engrossing in every move they made. It’s pop stuff, sure, but it really adds to the entire concert experience when you can rev up the band and your audience, song after song, until the only thing that matters is the next tune on the set list. The bands played very well, they hit their target audience with the songs they loved, and they energized their core so much that the only thing they could do was to become more immersed in the performance. It reminded me of why concerts can be such a moving experience – the kind of experiences you look back on and reminisce on cold, autumn nights.
Shout out to Anaheim and the House of Blues. I’ll be heading back soon, HOB.
Here is Smallpools’ live In-Studio Performance during Tyler’s Morning Show:
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Check out Magic Man:
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